Writing a compelling cover letter is a critical component of an effective job search for college students. A well thought out cover letter will show employers that you are a motivated candidate and place a high value on their employment opportunity. A quality letter will convey to employers both why you are interested in the job or internship and how your background will enable you to excel in the position. Lastly the cover letter serves as a writing sample and will demonstrate to employers that you can communicate logically and effectively. Here are some tips to help you write the best possible cover letters. Carefully research your target job prior to starting to write your letter. Assess the skills, knowledge, education, experience and personal qualities required for success. Some of this will be evident from the job advertisement that the employer has provided. Supplement this information by conducting informational interviews with alumni in the field. Ask them what it takes to excel in that role. Consult your college's career office for suggestions about other resources of information about the field. Make a list of the assets in your background which correspond most closely to the requirements for the job. Your assets can be skills, coursework, knowledge, experiences, personal qualities, honors/awards, motivations or interests.

Cover letter tips for college students

For each asset put together a phrase referencing how you have tapped that strength to succeed in a role, project, job or activity. For example, "my persuasive skills enabled me to expand membership in the sorority by 25%". More than one asset can be strung together with a particular statement of proof like "strong writing, research and interviewing skills contributed to my success as a reporter for the school newspaper" in some cases. Weaving together these phrases will form the core of your letter. In your first paragraph make sure you reference the specific position or category of jobs for which you would like consideration. Make sure you mention their name towards the beginning of your letter in case anyone known to the employer (like an alum who works there!) has referred you to the opportunity. A tone of enthusiasm and a strong statement of interest should be reflected in your first paragraph. Some candidates will use a brief thesis statement. at the end of the first paragraph to demonstrate their interest and summarize their fit. For example, "My fascination with numbers combined with my strong accounting skills and mathematics minor should help me to make a solid contribution in this role". Use short paragraphs so that employers can quickly scan your document without being overwhelmed by large blocks of text. Try to limit paragraphs to 7 or fewer lines of text. Employers of college graduates are often looking for future leaders for their organization. Include statements in your letter that showcase any successful leadership role you have played with student organizations, teams or academic groups.